Skip to Content

Integral Human Development

Integral Human Development (IHD) is much more than SCIAF’s life-transforming work – it is the foundation, running through its partnerships, projects, and the way we serve our sisters and brothers around the world.

Our programmes promote the development of the whole person, in every aspect of life. We design our work with the people we serve, ensuring all their needs are met – not just financial, but also physical, natural, social, psychological, spiritual and human.

What is Integral Human Development?

Integral Human Development is grounded in Scripture and the tradition of the Church, and is manifested above all in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. It promotes the dignity of the human person which means that the poor must be the subjects of development, not treated as objects to be exploited. The ‘human’ in IHD recognises the divine origin of humankind, that everyone must have agency over their own lives and that any development project must be formed by the programme participants themselves, accompanied by SCIAF staff. It must be an ‘authentic' development.

Authentic development “concerns the whole person in every single dimension...if it does not involve the whole person and every person it is not true development”.

Pope Benedict XVI

IHD promotes holistic development that covers the whole life, including the transcendent. IHD respects traditional cultures, values and institutions – it works through them so that participants own their own development, and programmes are shaped around their beliefs.

IHD’s starting point is to uphold the dignity of the human person, listening to and empowering programme participants. For SCIAF, that means making partners (the community-based organisations we work with in-country) co-creators of programmes and very much the local experts.

Integral Human Development is not limited to economic growth; is to be holistic, covering all spheres of life – the economic, political, cultural, personal and spiritual. The integral human development of any person is found in using their abilities to participate in and foster the common good.

Back to

Our Approach